Post-Divorce Home Projects for a Fresh Start

After a divorce, you are likely adjusting to a new or changing home environment. You’re now looking forward to a new beginning. But if you retained your marital home in the property settlement, facing those old memories waiting around every corner may seem daunting. It might be time to put a fresh face on that old space.

If you’re like many people, you are facing your post-divorce life with great hopes but a limited budget. Generally, the cost of divorce and splitting resources into two households leaves little extra money for professional renovations and redecorating. But after divorce, renovating your home may be more about a mental health remodel than new furniture. This is why your post-divorce life may benefit from some simple DIY projects to help refresh your home ... and your mindset.

A fresh start with manageable changes

A change in environment can have a significant effect on your mental outlook. Your home is full of the memories of a marriage, good and not-so-good. Making it a place that reflects your new life can help you feel strong and hopeful whenever you walk in the door.

Small, manageable changes and baby-step DIY projects can have a big impact on the feel and personality of your space and equal a happier you without a great deal of added expense. 

Color can set a mood

Your current house probably expresses the personality of both you and your ex. But you are no longer half of a couple, and nothing is keeping you from expressing your unique personality. 

If you’re looking for a change in the mood of your space, it’s easy and inexpensive to play with paint and color. While you may have had a monotone palette throughout your home to keep things neutral and make everyone happy, monotone may give you a sense of the “blahs” these days. Does yellow make you happy and feel like a warm, sunshiny day? You have the right to bring some of that into your life now. 

Painting your walls may be one of the simplest ways to give your surroundings a boost and set your course for the future. Is that yellow just a bit too bright? No problem. Paint over it. 

Make your bedroom your personal oasis

No room represents the good times (or bad times) in a couple’s marriage more than the bedroom. After a divorce, the bedroom may hold a strong emotional attachment that you’d like to let go of. 

While you may not be able to afford to change the bedroom furniture, a new mattress may help shift your feelings about the bed. Inexpensive mattresses are now available at the click of a button and can come straight to your door. 

You could also feng shui the room with a minor rearrangement. A new bedspread or duvet can alter its personality. Did your ex hate pillows? Pile them up! Invest in a set of luxury sheets and some scented candles. When you head to bed each night, you’ll have a room that invites rest and relaxation, not the rehashing of old memories. 

Make your living space fit your personal style and preferences

Post-divorce is not the time to put yourself in debt with a truckload of newly financed furniture. Rearrange what you have, and give it a new personality with throw pillows, small accent pieces, and area rugs. Find a few inexpensive prints to replace the old ones on your walls. Comb flea markets and second-hand shops for quirky finds that fit your aesthetic. Painted furniture is now on-trend and easy to do. 

Affordable kitchen facelifts

One of the most expensive renovations to a home is the kitchen. And while you may want to tackle a major renovation on your own, most people rely on a professional and pay professional prices. But there are some places where a DIY touch can make a huge difference for little expense. 

Painting cabinets is one way to completely change the personality of a kitchen. While it can be labor-intensive, it can be well worth the time and the small investment in paint. 

Add new kitchen rugs or mats. Purchase a rolling storage cart and some updated small kitchen appliances in new colors. Change out your faucet, and plant some herbs in pots on your windowsill. While these are minimal changes, they can alter the entire feel of your kitchen and make it a place where you’ll actually want to spend time. 

Let the kids revamp their rooms

You're not the only one dealing with memories in your old space. The kids may be having an equally difficult time adjusting to their home without your ex. 

Giving them some latitude and creative expression in their own bedrooms – and letting them make suggestions for the main living areas – may help ease their minds and make home feel cozy for them as well. 

Spruce up your outside areas

Coming home should be something you look forward to. Want an immediate happiness boost every time you come home? Paint your front door a new color. Add a new knocker and a welcome mat. These small touches will shift your mindset before you even open the door. 

Do you long to have an outside space that feels welcoming to you and guests? String up festive patio lights, and watch how this transforms your outside spaces. 

New plantings can represent new beginnings. Planting fresh flowers or shrubbery can help change the outside aesthetic of your home and give it a different feel. Not much of a gardener? Keep plants in decorative pots. When you forget to water or get a nasty attack of aphids, it’s easy to change out your plants without digging up your yard.

Begin a new relationship – with YouTube!

While many of us have watched HGTV shows with rapt attention and marveled over what can happen during a one-hour episode, our realist selves know that the magic of reality television has little to do with reality. But switch over to YouTube, and you will find real, down-to-earth DIY channels that can walk you through almost any home project or thrift store refurbishment if you have enough patience and tenacity. 

Ask for help

Your sense of home decorating may be missing in action, but chances are you have a friend who is great with this stuff. Ask friends for suggestions, and accept help when it’s offered. 

Other (bigger) post-divorce home project ideas

After years as a couple, you may have watered down your own personal tastes to accommodate your ex. You may not even remember what those tastes are anymore. Embracing the unique you that has been hiding all this time and exploring your options may call for bigger changes, if you have the resources. 

You may want to start from scratch and make your home a complete reflection of who you are now and what you want in your future. There can be no denying that reinventing your home can be an extension of reinventing yourself. If you are financially able, donate the stuff that no longer has meaning for you or your kids and start over. It’s your time to shine. 

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events that can happen to a person, and refreshing or renovating the marital home can be a cathartic way of healing the grief of a divorce. At Hello Divorce, we’ve developed a holistic approach to divorce with online plans and professional services as well as a wealth of important information and resources to make your life better along the way.

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.